Let me tell you about the night I was nearly raped... and why, like thousands of other women, I didn't report it
When someone has been raped or sexually assaulted, they obviously need a great deal of support from the people around them as well as from people like counselors, the police, doctors and so on. Many people simply do not know how to help somebody through the trauma of rape or sexual assault, and so they become frustrated and bewildered and feel that they are in some way failing the person they care about. These feelings can sometimes be transmitted to that person, making it even harder for them to cope with their experiences and often leaving them with even more feelings of guilt and confusion.
Let me tell you about the night I was very nearly raped. It was winter, three years ago, and it happened at the flat of a friend called John. John and I had gone out to meet a group of his mates from university in a pub in Central London. It was an ordinary December night; the pub smelt of stale beer and cigarette smoke.
At some point, a vague acquaintance of one of John's friends joined our group. His name was Michael. He was younger than me - about 24 - small and skinny.
When it got to chucking-out time, we decided to go to a cafe in East London for a late supper. Michael asked if he could come and we thought it was strange but we were too polite to say no.
I remember he was manipulative - he tried to be very charming but there was something very creepy about him